international employment law firm alliance L&E Global

Sweden: Minimum Monthly Salary to Obtain or Extend Work Permit

Author: Nina Voigt Dahl

Since 1 November 2023, the minimum monthly salary to obtain or to extend a work permit has been increased significantly from SEK 13,000 to SEK 27,360. The increase will affect the possibilities of obtaining work permits for many low-paid job positions.

A foreign worker who is not a citizen of the EU or the EEA, must obtain a work permit in order to stay in Sweden. When applying for a work permit, the Swedish Migration Agency must examine whether the income requirements are met by the foreign worker. For the last 15 years, SEK 13,000 has been considered a sufficient income. As of 1 November 2023, the minimum salary requirement has been increased, and the applicant must now earn enough to make a good living, corresponding to a monthly salary of at least 80% of the median salary published by Statistics Sweden. Currently, this means that an applicant must earn a monthly salary of at least SEK 27,360 before tax. The requirements are subject to a few exceptions, including seasonal workers and persons working as professional coaches and athletes, au pairs, researchers and trainees within the framework of international exchange, or trainees participating in traineeships related to higher education. Moreover, labour immigrants who hold an EU Blue Card or ICT permits will not be affected.

The purpose of an increased salary requirement is to regulate the conditions under which it is reasonable and justifiable for a labour immigrant to move to Sweden for a work opportunity. The government’s intentions are that a higher salary requirement will strengthen the position of labour migrants in the labour market from being undercut and discourage competition with low salaries. The increase in salary requirement will have a significant impact on various occupations, specifically in services, care, sales, agriculture, gardening, forestry, berry picking, fishing, and occupations that demand a shorter education or introduction. The salaries earned by the employees in these groups generally fall below the new requirement.

Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-House Counsel

If your business employs workers who are not citizens of the EU or EEA and are staying in Sweden on a work permit, it is important to review which employees may be affected by the new requirements. Offering a salary lower than 80% of the current median salary may result in the labour migrant being denied further permission to work, thus having to leave the country.